Public Programs Will Be Offered for “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and The March on Washington, 1963” Exhibition

December 13, 2012

In 2013, the nation commemorates two events that changed the course of the nation: the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. These events were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals—both famous and unknown—who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Separated by 100 years, they are linked together in a larger story of freedom and the American experience.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History are presenting an exhibition that re-examines these two pivotal events and their larger relevance for all Americans today. The exhibition features historical and modern photographs and items ranging from Harriet Tubman’s shawl to a version of the Emancipation Proclamation that was created for Union soldiers to read to and distribute among African Americans. The exhibition will be on view from Dec. 14 through Sept. 15, 2013, in the NMAAHC Gallery at the National Museum of American History. For more information the public may visit nmaahc.si.edu or call (202) 633-1000.

A Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013; 9 a.m.
National Archives
Constitution Avenue at Ninth Street N.W.

The National Archives will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with a special display of the original document in the East Rotunda Gallery. The commemoration will include extended viewing hours, inspirational music and family activities and entertainment for all ages.

The first 100 guests in line at the main museum entrance at Constitution and Ninth Street N.W. by 8:15 a.m. are invited to enter the building to experience the dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Bernice Johnson Reagon, musician, song talker and scholar. Reagon, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient, is a founding member of the museum’s Scholarly Advisory Committee. The NMAAHC Education Department will offer hands-on family activities 11 a.m.–2 p.m. For more information call (202) 357-5000 or visit www.archives.gov.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture presents the following programs:

Behind the Dream: The Making of a Speech that Transformed a Nation—A Conversation between Wil Haygood and Clarence B. Jones
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013; 2 p.m.
National Museum of American History
Warner Bros. Theater

Washington Post staff writer and author, Wil Haygood, will lead a discussion with Clarence B. Jones on his latest book, Behind the Dream, co-authored with Stuart Connelly. During their talk, Jones will explore his relationship with Martin Luther King Jr., the weeks leading up to the March on Washington and his collaboration with King on the leader’s famous “I Have Dream” speech. Jones served as speechwriter and counsel to King and is currently a scholar-in-residence and visiting professor at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Institute. Books will be available for sale and signing following this program. Reservations suggested, call (202) 633-0070 or visit nmaahc.si.edu for more information.

Black History Month Family Day
Saturday, Feb. 2; 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
National Museum of American History

Families are invited to the Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Black History Month. This day of activities is inspired by the exhibition, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and The March on Washington, 1963.” It includes period musical and dramatic performances; hands-on, interactive activities; gallery tours; and video interviews by the Hirshhorn’s ArtLab+ teen videographers.

Smithsonian participants: Anacostia Community Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies and Smithsonian Heritage Months Steering Committee.

National Youth Summit on Abolition
Monday, Feb. 11; noon
Webcast—register at americanhistory.si.edu/nys/abolition

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will host the National Youth Summit on Abolition Feb. 11, 2013. Experts, scholars and activists will join high school students from around the country and the world in a moderated panel discussion to reflect on the abolition movement of the 19th century and explore its legacy on modern-day slavery and human trafficking. This interactive program will be webcast internationally; participants will be able to submit questions for the panel electronically.

The program will feature excerpts from the upcoming American Experience documentary The Abolitionists, which weaves together the stories of five of the abolition movement’s leading figures: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown. Panelists will include Kenneth B. Morris Jr. (president and founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation and the great-great-great grandson of Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington), Lois Brown (Elizabeth Small Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and visiting professor in the African American studies program and English department at Wesleyan University) and others.

The King Years: Historic Years Moment in the Civil Rights Movement—A Conversation with Taylor Branch
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013; 7 p.m.
National Museum of American History
Warner Bros. Theater

Rex Ellis, associate director of curatorial affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will interview best-selling author Taylor Branch about his latest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement. The book is an abridged version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning America in the King Years Trilogy, which included Parting the Waters: America in the King Years: 1954-1963, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-1965 and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968. A former staff member of The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, and Esquire, Branch is a founding member of the museum’s Scholarly Advisory Committee. Books will be available for sale and signing following this program. Reservations suggested, call (202) 633-0070 or visit nmaahc.si.edu for more information.

Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery—A Conversation between Deborah Willis and Lonnie Bunch Monday, March 25; 7 p.m. National Museum of American History Warner Bros. Theater

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will moderate a discussion with Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, about her latest work Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery. The publication is a collaboration with Barbara Krauthamer, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Through rare photographs and documents, the book focuses on black enslavement, emancipation and life from 1850 to 1930. Recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher and MacArthur fellowships, Willis is a founding member of the museum’s Scholarly Advisory Committee. Books will be available for sale and signing following this program. Call (202) 633-0070 or visit nmaahc.si.edu for more information.

On Art and History: Natasha Trethewey Reads and Discusses Native Guard
Monday, May 6, 2013; 7 p.m.
National Museum of American History
Warner Bros. Theater

Natasha Trethewey, appointed the U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2012, will read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems titled Native Guard. Trethewey gives an impressive interpretation of the Native Guard, one of the first mostly black regiments to fight in the Union Army, and its eventual presence on the Gulf of Mexico off the Mississippi coast. The Native Guard was composed mostly of former slaves who enlisted and were assigned to guard Confederate prisoners of war. Trethewey often visited a memorial to those prisoners as a child, but, according to her poem “Elegy for the Native Guards,” the presence of the African American soldiers has gone unrecognized. She also explores her life from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, a time of tremendous upheaval in Mississippi. Native Guard provides a thoughtful, long view of a tumultuous century in American History. The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band led by Sharde Thomas of Sardis, Miss., will open and close the program. Books will be available for sale and signing following this program. Reservations suggested, call (202) 633-0070 or visit nmaahc.si.edu for more information.

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SI-540-2012


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